There are phases in life in which you just can’t make it to the gym on a regular basis. It is during these times that taking brief exercise breaks at work will be your saving grace.
At least once a day, take a five-minute break and head over to a place where no one will gawk and stare at you. Even highly visible employees such as receptionists can find time to do this during the work day. (I used to do this all the time back in my days as a receptionist. It helped me lose weight, keep it off, and maintain my health while on the job.)
Once you’re in your happy little spot, here are three amazing routines you can follow:
1) Calisthenics. Lift your arms and legs in different directions to strengthen your muscles. Extend each appendage to the side, back and front of your body. Reach out your arms and trace circles of various sizes in the air. Do some squats, jumps, and lunches to help your legs feel alive again. Lean from one side to another to work your oblique muscles. If you can reasonably lie down on a horizontal surface, do some crunches to strengthen your core. Try every kind of movement you can think of until you find the ones you really enjoy and can bear to repeat every day.
2) Aerobic exercises. Do some jumping jacks or jump roping. Take advantage of staircases, too. Running up and down the stairs can do wonders for your cardiovascular health. In fact, studies show that running short distances quickly, stopping to rest, then running again yields faster improvement for your heart rate than running long distances for longer periods of time. This method is called interval training, and it’s a great alternative to a long aerobic routine.
3) Stretching. Don’t forget to stretch after each workout! Stretching has many benefits, including increased flexibility, better circulation, stress relief, and an instant boost of energy when you need it. Stretch to the point that feels good, not the point that hurts, and you’ll really start to enjoy it.
These are just a few suggestions of things you can do during your happy break. With time, you’ll come up with your own favorite variations.
It’s amazing what a little exercise break will do for your health as well as your productivity. It will relieve stress, decrease your risk of disease and muscle atrophy, and help clear your mind and focus your energies on solving your work problems. Give it a whirl today and see what it does for you!
How do you keep in shape when on a tight schedule? read more →
The best, most valuable and comprehensive workouts are those that are total-body in nature. Gone are the days of “body part training,” i.e., train back and chest on Mondays, arms and legs on Tuesdays, etc.. We don’t move through life in “body part” movements. We move in “total body” movements. That’s one of many reasons why focusing on the complete body has much more real-world value that focusing on isolated muscle groups (plus, it’s a whole lot more enjoyable when you’re in total body movement then when you’re standing in front of the mirror, doing the robot).
Kickboxing is a total body workout, that’s part of its initial appeal and value. Every properly thrown punch originates from the ground, the foot, and travels upward through the body like a wave until the fist strikes the bag. Every kick involves rotational movement, core movement, pivoting, balance, impact, recoiling and returning to the ground.
Every single movement when properly executed involves the whole body!
Why does this matter?
- You can assure yourself of getting a complete, comprehensive, full-body workout every time you take a kickboxing class.
- Its high-intensity calorie burning properties come with an amazing cardiorespiratory conditioning benefit.
- Proper mechanics in the execution of punches and kicks involve most of the major muscles of the body, and many stabilizing ones, as well.
- The gloves on your hands add additional weight for an enhanced upper body workout, and the heavy bag provides resistance for muscle strengthening and “toning” (shoulders and arms, especially).
- The footwork and balance during kicks enhances lower body conditioning (glutes, hips and quads, especially).
Plain English: You burn a ton of calories, get a great cardio workout, and tone and strengthen all at the same time.
Plus, it’s just plain fun. Don’t overlook this point. Sometimes, at the end of the day, it’s just nice to be able to knock the stuffing out of something. It’s therapeutic, a stress-reliever, and you’re actually learning a skill, instead of just lifting something up and down which has all the appeal of pushing a rock up a hill!
Newcomers should research classes in the area to find out which feels right. Not which one looks right, which one feels right. This means you need to try it out. If you’re just into it for the exercise value, stay away from the combat oriented training centers. But don’t overthink it; you don’t need preparation, you just need a willingness to try something outside the scope of what you normally do, and a willingness to WORK HARD, because it may be the toughest, most enjoyable, most beneficial workout you ever do.
Planking is more than just a silly trend! It’s a fast and effective core strengthening exercise that packs a punch! While it may look simple enough, holding the plank position for a full minute may take some time to work up to, but you will quickly notice your core becoming stronger.
A year ago, I tried a yoga class for the first time. It was an accident really.
My friend and I showed up at the gym for our normal cardio class, only to find that the instructor couldn’t make it. So, the lady checking us in convinced us that since we were already there, we may as well go to the yoga class that was starting.
So, we did.
And I’ve been hooked ever since!
Yoga is More Than Stretching
I used to think that yoga was all about breathing really loudly while stretching. It didn’t seem like something that was worth my limited time.
Now that I now better, I describe yoga like this: I’ve never worked harder at trying to stay still.
Striking a Pose
Yoga is really all about getting into and holding a pose.
By practicing yoga, you gradually move your body into more and more complex poses and hold each pose longer and longer.
This takes a lot of strength, endurance and stamina. Though you do become more flexible over time – it doesn’t take much flexibility to start and practice yoga.
Seeing a Difference
The biggest selling point for me when it came to yoga was that I could see a difference.
Within a few weeks, I noticed that I could get deeper into lunges and planks and hold them longer.
After a little more than a month, I noticed more toning in my arms and legs.
A few months later, I could feel more flexibility and strength in my back.
Now, a year into it – my balance and endurance are greatly improved. This helps in all of the other parts of my life – from playing with the kids to sitting at my desk to working hard in kickboxing classes.
Give It a Try
Give yoga a try! You may be just as surprised as I was at how challenging and how beneficial it can be! read more →
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